Centre’s new rules for import of drones

Contact Counsellor

Centre’s new rules for import of drones

  • Centre on February 9 banned the import of drones with some exceptions in India.
  • The import of drone components, however, has not been restricted by the government as it seeks to boost domestic manufacturing of drones.

Imports being banned

  • The import of any drones either in completely built up (CBU), completely knocked down(CKD) /semi knocked down (SKD) forms have been banned.
  • The exception of new rule is drones imported “for the purposes of defence, security and research and development”.
  • Anyone looking to import drones under the exemptions will be required to obtain clearances.
  • The move is aimed at giving a boost to domestic manufacturing of drones which is seen as a sector that is set to witness rapid growth this decade.
  • According to BIS Research, India’s drone market is estimated to account for about 4.25 per cent of the global drone market worth about $28.5 billion in FY22.

Who can still import drones?

  • Government entities, educational institutions and government recognised R&D entities will be allowed to import drones in CBU, SKD and CKD form after they acquire import authorisation from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade.
  • Drone manufacturers seeking to import drones for R&D will also be able to import drones through this route.

Recent government measures on drones

Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for Drones and Drone components

  • It is a Rs 120 crore Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to boost the manufacturing of drones in the country has been launched recently.
  • The government has estimated that the PLI scheme for drones would generate investment of over Rs 5,000 crore and 10,000 direct jobs in India’s drone manufacturing sector till FY24.
  • The PLI scheme is also expected to boost the total turnover of the domestic industry to Rs 900 crore in FY24 up from an estimated Rs 60 crore in FY21.

New drone rules 2021

  • The Central Government on 25th August 2021 has promulgated liberalised 'The Drone Rules, 2021’ replacing the erstwhile Unmanned Aircraft System Rules 2021, to regulate the use and operation of Drones or Unmanned Aerial System (""UAS"") in India.
  • The Rules are based on the principles of ""trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring"" by reducing the extent of regulatory control.
  • The strict requirements under the Prior Rules like certificate of conformation, certificate of maintenance, operator permits, import clearance, authorization of R&D etc., have been abolished under the Rules.

Digital Sky Platform

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation launched the Digital Sky Platform.
  • It is a unique unmanned traffic management (UTM) system which will facilitate registration and licensing of drones and operators in addition to giving instant (online) clearances to operators for every flight.
  • The Digital Sky Platform will enable online registration of pilots, devices, service providers, and NPNT (no permission, no take-off)